The NAGB Mixed Media Summer Art Camp first session started with a bang with a diverse group of young campers, staff, and volunteers eager to learn about this year’s themes which focused on major art movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, and Impressionism. We wanted to display the importance of these movements and the impact that they have had on the Bahamian art scene, artists, and their practices.
It was a moment for kids of all ages to experience a wide range of art forms, all in an exciting, hands-on creative environment. It was an opportunity for many of the kids and volunteers alike to make new friends, create happy and exciting memories, and to grow and improve skills in a variety of areas other than its main focus of art. Campers who were coming into an art camp especially those who have had very little or no contact with visual arts in the school system considered it a rewarding experience and many of them excelled during different lessons.
Under the creative direction of Darchell Henderson, Tarinda Thompson-Rolle, and Jackson Petit, a group of transitioning students from junior to senior high school shined as they created work that they had very little understanding of when they first arrived. It was refreshing to see them willingly commit to the curriculum, as many of them were skeptical about attending an “art camp.” Several students created individual work and participated in the development of collaborative works with other students – unknown to them – giving them an opportunity to understand the value of teamwork.
With Jackson Petit, the campers cemented their legacy on the walls of the NAGB with collaborative group project involving the creation of individual sketches around the theme of Cubism. This work was then joined in a larger sketch taking drawings from each student combining them into one life-size, flashy rendering of Cubism as seen through their eyes. Shifting the focus from the older campers to the younger and vibrant group of curious primary schoolers, they were equally ready to get their hands dirty and immerse themselves in the program. The kiddies created various dynamic pieces and were often seen having their versions of critiques not only to talk about their work but to express their pride in how they created their work.
The younger group was led by Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, Domonique Delancy-Jacobs, Spurgeonique Morley and Christina Wong. Artist June Collie was commissioned to create a mural on the NAGB’s Annex where she illustrated the multiplicity of roles that women occupy in The Bahamas as the Caribbean at large under the second week’s theme of Cubism. Channeling many great artists, June with the assistance of the older campers, was able to instill a greater appreciation and respect for women during the production of her electrifying piece on our walls. We had a varied group of staff and volunteers with a mixture of high school seniors, recent high school graduates, undergraduate and graduate students many of whom are members of the College of the Bahamas’ Pro Society, emerging artists and some returning from last year.
It was a rewarding experience as many of them got a hands-on approach to a full-scale visual art immersion camp. Many of them intend on returning for the second session, which begins July 25th. The first session saw many success stories amongst the students so much so that we have some returning for the second session. We are delighted to have the opportunity to build more on their knowledge and feed their curiosity.